How Well Do You Wash Your Hands?


  1. Cover both of your hands in paint, as if you were using hand lotion. Make sure to cover the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and around your fingernails.
  2. Hold your hands out and let the paint dry for a three or four minutes.
  3. Rinse your hands briefly with just warm water. How much paint is left on your hands?
  4. Rub your hands together briefly under running water. How much paint is left on your hands now?
  5. Use some soap, and count to 5 while washing your hands. Now how much paint is left?
  6. Continue to use soap, and wash your hands for another 15 seconds. Examine your hands.

Are certain parts of your hands cleaner than others? Where is there still paint left on your hands? What can you do to improve your hand washing?

What Happened?

You probably found that rinsing, or even scrubbing, your hands with only water did a poor job of removing the paint. Soap helps break up the paint and other dirt on your hands, making it easier to remove, along with germs. But even with soap, you have to do a good job washing your hands to remove all the paint. This includes washing them for more than just a few seconds, and getting into all the nooks and crannies where the paint (and germs) can hide.

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